Interfacility transfer of pediatric trauma patients to higher levels of care: The effect of transfer time and level of receiving trauma center

Hamidreza Hosseinpour, Louis J. Magnotti, Sai Krishna Bhogadi, Christina Colosimo, Khaled El-Qawaqzeh, Audrey L. Spencer, Tanya Anand, Michael Ditillo, Adam Nelson, Bellal Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Interfacility transfer of pediatric trauma patients to pediatric trauma centers (PTCs) after evaluation in nontertiary centers is associated with improved outcomes. We aimed to assess the outcomes of transferred pediatric patients based on their severity of the injury, transfer time, and level of receiving PTCs. METHODS This is a 3-year (2017-2019) analysis of the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program database. All children (younger than 15 years) who were transferred from other facilities to Level I or II PTC were included and stratified by level of receiving PTCs and injury severity. Outcome measures were in-hospital mortality and major complications. RESULTS A total of 67,726 transferred pediatric trauma patients were identified, of which 52,755 were transferred to Level I and 14,971 to Level II. The mean ± SD age and median Injury Severity Score were 7 ± 4 years and 4 (1-6), respectively. Eighty-five percent were transported by ground ambulance. The median transfer time for Levels I and II was 93 (70-129) and 90 (66-128) minutes, respectively (p < 0.001). On multivariable regression, interfacility transfers to Level I PTCs were associated with decreased risk-adjusted odds of in-hospital mortality among the mildly to moderately injured group (adjusted odds ratio, 0.59; p = 0.037) and severely injured group with a transfer time of less than 60 minutes (adjusted odds ratio, 0.27; p = 0.002). CONCLUSION Every minute increase in the interfacility transfer time is associated with a 2% increase in risk-adjusted odds of mortality among severely injured pediatric trauma patients. Factors other than the level of receiving PTCs, such as estimated transfer time and severity of injury, should be considered while deciding about transferring pediatric trauma patients to higher levels of care. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic/Care Management; Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-390
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023


  • ACS verification level
  • Pediatric trauma
  • interfacility transfer
  • transfer time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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